Enteric neuronal degeneration, as seen in inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and diabetes, can lead to gastrointestinal dysmotility. Pyroptosis is a novel form of programmed cell death but little is known about its role in enteric neuronal degeneration. We observed higher levels of cleaved caspase-1, a marker of pyroptosis, in myenteric ganglia of overweight and obese human subjects compared with normal-weight subjects. Western diet–fed (WD-fed) mice exhibited increased myenteric neuronal pyroptosis, delayed colonic transit, and impaired electric field stimulation–induced colonic relaxation responses. WD increased TLR4 expression and cleaved caspase-1 in myenteric nitrergic neurons. Overactivation of nitrergic neuronal NF-κB signaling resulted in increased pyroptosis and delayed colonic motility. In caspase-11–deficient mice, WD did not induce nitrergic myenteric neuronal pyroptosis and colonic dysmotility. To understand the contributions of saturated fatty acids and bacterial products to the steps leading to enteric neurodegeneration, we performed in vitro experiments using mouse enteric neurons. Palmitate and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) increased nitrergic, but not cholinergic, enteric neuronal pyroptosis. LPS gained entry to the cytosol in the presence of palmitate, activating caspase-11 and gasdermin D, leading to pyroptosis. These results support a role of the caspase-11–mediated pyroptotic pathway in WD-induced myenteric nitrergic neuronal degeneration and colonic dysmotility, providing important therapeutic targets for enteric neuropathy.
Lan Ye, Ge Li, Anna Goebel, Abhinav V. Raju, Feng Kong, Yanfei Lv, Kailin Li, Yuanjun Zhu, Shreya Raja, Peijian He, Fang Li, Simon Musyoka Mwangi, Wenhui Hu, Shanthi Srinivasan
Posttranslational modifications are a common feature of proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases including prion protein (PrPC), tau and α-synuclein. Alternative self-propagating protein states or strains give rise to different disease phenotypes and display strain-specific subsets of posttranslational modifications. The relationships between strain-specific structure, posttranslational modifications and disease phenotype are poorly understood. We previously reported that among hundreds of PrPC sialoglycoforms expressed by a cell, individual prion strains recruited PrPC molecules selectively, according to the sialylation status of their N-linked glycans. Here we report that transmission of a prion strain to a new host is accompanied by a dramatic shift in the selectivity of recruitment of PrPC sialoglycoforms giving rise to PrPSc with a unique sialoglycoform signature and disease phenotype. The newly emerged strain has the shortest incubation time to disease, is characterized by a colocalization of PrPSc with microglia and a very profound proinflammatory response, features that are linked to a unique sialoglycoform composition of PrPSc. The current work provides experimental support for a hypothesis that strain-specific patterns of PrPSc sialoglycoforms formed as a result of selective recruitment dictate strain-specific disease phenotypes. This work suggests a causative relationship between a strain-specific structure, posttranslational modifications and disease phenotype.
Natallia Makarava, Jennifer Chen-Yu Chang, Kara Molesworth, Ilia V. Baskakov
Peripheral neurotoxicity is a debilitating toxicity that afflicts up to 90% of patients with colorectal cancer receiving oxaliplatin-containing therapy. Although emerging evidence has highlighted the importance of various solute carriers to the toxicity of anticancer drugs, the contribution of these proteins to oxaliplatin-induced peripheral neurotoxicity remains controversial. Among candidate transporters investigated in genetically-engineered mouse models, we provide evidence for a critical role of the organic cation transporter 2 (OCT2) in satellite glial cells to oxaliplatin-induced neurotoxicity, and demonstrate that targeting OCT2 using genetic and pharmacological approaches ameliorates acute and chronic forms of neurotoxicity. The relevance of this transport system was verified in transporter-deficient rats as a secondary model organism, and translational significance of preventative strategies was demonstrated in preclinical models of colorectal cancer. These studies suggest that pharmacological targeting of OCT2 could be exploited to afford neuroprotection in cancer patients requiring treatment with oxaliplatin.
Kevin M. Huang, Alix F. Leblanc, Muhammad Erfan Uddin, Ji Young Kim, Mingqing Chen, Eric D. Eisenmann, Alice Gibson, Yang Li, Kristen W. Hong, Duncan DiGiacomo, Sherry Huinan Xia, Paola Alberti, Alessia Chiorazzi, Stephen N. Housley, Timothy C. Cope, Jason A. Sprowl, Jing Wang, Charles L. Loprinzi, Anne Noonan, Maryam Lustberg, Guido Cavaletti, Navjotsingh Pabla, Shuiying Hu, Alex Sparreboom
Background: Bariatric surgeries are the most effective treatments for successful and sustained weight loss but individuals vary in treatment response. Understanding the neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms accounting for this variation could lead to the development of personalized therapeutic approaches and improve treatment outcomes. The primary objectives were to investigate changes in taste preferences and taste-induced brain responses after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) and vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) and to identify potential taste-related predictors of weight loss. Methods: Women, ages 18 to 55, with a body mass index ≥ 35 kg/m2 and approved for bariatric surgery at the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery were recruited for participation. Demographics, anthropometrics, liking ratings, and neural responses to varying concentrations of sucrose+fat mixtures were assessed pre- and post-surgery via visual analogue scales and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Results: Bariatric surgery produced decreases in liking for sucrose-sweetened mixtures. Greater preference for sucrose-sweetened mixtures prior to surgery was associated with greater weight loss in RYGB but not VSG. In the RYGB group only, individuals who showed lower taste-induced activation in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) prior to surgery and greater changes in taste-induced VTA activation two weeks following surgery experienced better weight loss. Conclusions: The anatomical and/or metabolic changes associated with RYGB may more effectively “reset” the neural processing of reward stimuli, thereby rescuing the blunted activation in the mesolimbic pathway found in patients with obesity. Further, these findings suggest that RYGB may be particularly effective in patients with a preference for sweet foods. Trial Registration: Not Applicable.Funding: K23DK100559 and The Dalio Philanthropies. Funding: K23DK100559 and The Dalio Philanthropies.
Kimberly R. Smith, Afroditi Papantoni, Maria G. Veldhuizen, Vidyulata Kamath, Civonnia Harris, Timothy H. Moran, Susan Carnell, Kimberley E. Steele
Background. Given the heightened tolerance to self-starvation in anorexia nervosa, a hypothalamic dysregulation of energy and glucose homeostasis has been hypothesized. Therefore, we investigated whether hypothalamic reactivity to glucose metabolism is impaired in AN. Methods. Twenty-four participants with AN, 28 normal-weight and 24 healthy participants with obesity underwent 2 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sessions in a single-blind, random-order, case-controlled crossover design. We used an intragastric infusion of glucose and water to bypass the cephalic phase of food intake. The responsivity of the hypothalamus and the crosstalk of the hypothalamus with reward-related brain regions were investigated using high-resolution MRI. Results. Normal-weight control participants displayed the expected glucose-induced deactivation of hypothalamic activation, whereas patients with AN and participants with obesity showed blunted hypothalamic reactivity. Compared to normal-weight and obese controls, patients with AN failed to show functional connectivity between the hypothalamus and reward-related brain regions during water relative to glucose. Finally, patients with AN displayed typical baseline levels of peripheral appetite hormones during a negative energy balance. Conclusion. These results indicate that blunted hypothalamic glucose reactivity might be related to the pathophysiology of AN. This provides new insights for future research, as it is an extended perspective of the traditional primary nonhomeostatic understanding of the disease. Funding. This study was supported by a grant from the DFG (SI 2087/2-1).
Joe J. Simon, Marion A. Stopyra, Esther Mönning, Sebastian C. A. M. Sailer, Nora Lavandier, Lars Kihm, Martin Bendszus, Hubert Preissl, Wolfgang Herzog, Hans-Christoph Friederich
Levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID) poses a significant health care challenge for Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. Amantadine is currently the only drug proven to alleviate LID. Although its efficacy in treating LID is widely assumed to be mediated by blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptors, our experiments demonstrate that at therapeutically relevant concentrations, amantadine preferentially blocks inward-rectifying K+ channel type 2 (Kir2) channels in striatal spiny projection neurons (SPNs) — not NMDA receptors. In so doing, amantadine enhances dendritic integration of excitatory synaptic potentials in SPNs and enhances — not antagonizes — the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) at excitatory, axospinous synapses. Taken together, our studies suggest that the alleviation of LID in PD patients is mediated by diminishing the disparity in the excitability of direct- and indirect-pathway SPNs in the on state, rather than by disrupting LTP induction. This insight points to a pharmacological approach that could be used to effectively ameliorate LID and improve the quality of life for PD patients.
Weixing Shen, Wenjie Ren, Shenyu Zhai, Ben Yang, Carlos G. Vanoye, Ananya Mitra, Alfred L. George Jr., D. James Surmeier
Familial dysautonomia (FD) is the most prevalent form of hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN). In FD, a germline mutation in the Elp1 gene leads to Elp1 protein decrease that causes sympathetic neuron death and sympathetic nervous system dysfunction (dysautonomia). Elp1 is best known as a scaffolding protein within the nuclear hetero-hexameric transcriptional Elongator protein complex, but how it functions in sympathetic neuron survival is very poorly understood. Here, we identified a cytoplasmic function for Elp1 in sympathetic neurons that was essential for retrograde nerve growth factor (NGF) signaling and neuron target tissue innervation and survival. Elp1 was found to bind to internalized TrkA receptors in an NGF-dependent manner, where it was essential for maintaining TrkA receptor phosphorylation (activation) by regulating PTPN6 (Shp1) phosphatase activity within the signaling complex. In the absence of Elp1, Shp1 was hyperactivated, leading to premature TrkA receptor dephosphorylation, which resulted in retrograde signaling failure and neuron death. Inhibiting Shp1 phosphatase activity in the absence of Elp1 rescued NGF-dependent retrograde signaling, and in an animal model of FD it rescued abnormal sympathetic target tissue innervation. These results suggest that regulation of retrograde NGF signaling in sympathetic neurons by Elp1 may explain sympathetic neuron loss and physiologic dysautonomia in patients with FD.
Lin Li, Katherine Gruner, Warren G. Tourtellotte
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is caused by loss of repression of the DUX4 gene; however, the DUX4 protein is rare and difficult to detect in human muscle biopsies, and pathological mechanisms are obscure. FSHD is also a chronic disease that progresses slowly over decades. We used the sporadic, low-level, muscle-specific expression of DUX4 enabled by the iDUX4pA-HSA mouse to develop a chronic long-term muscle disease model. After 6 months of extremely low sporadic DUX4 expression, dystrophic muscle presented hallmarks of FSHD histopathology, including muscle degeneration, capillary loss, fibrosis, and atrophy. We investigated the transcriptional profile of whole muscle as well as endothelial cells and fibroadiopogenic progenitors (FAPs). Strikingly, differential gene expression profiles of both whole muscle and, to a lesser extent, FAPs, showed significant overlap with transcriptional profiles of MRI-guided human FSHD muscle biopsies. These results demonstrate a pathophysiological similarity between disease in muscles of iDUX4pA-HSA mice and humans with FSHD, solidifying the value of chronic rare DUX4 expression in mice for modeling pathological mechanisms in FSHD and highlighting the importance FAPs in this disease.
Darko Bosnakovski, Ahmed S. Shams, Ce Yuan, Meiricris T. da Silva, Elizabeth T. Ener, Cory W. Baumann, Angus J. Lindsay, Mayank Verma, Atsushi Asakura, Dawn A. Lowe, Michael Kyba
AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key regulator at the molecular level to maintain energy metabolism homeostasis. Mammalian AMPK is a heterotrimeric complex and its catalytic α subunit exists in two isoforms: AMPKα1 and AMPKα2. Recent studies suggest a role of AMPKα over-activation in AD-associated synaptic failure. However, whether AD-associated dementia can be improved by targeting AMPK remains unclear, and roles of AMPKα isoforms in AD pathophysiology are not understood. Here we showed distinct disruption of hippocampal AMPKα isoform expression patterns in post mortem human AD patients and AD model mice. We further investigated the effects of brain- and isoform-specific AMPKα repression on AD pathophysiology. We found that repression of AMPKα1 alleviated cognitive deficits and synaptic failure displayed in two separate lines of AD model mice. In contrast, AMPKα2 suppression did not alter AD pathophysiology. Using unbiased mass spectrometry-based proteomics analysis, we identified distinct patterns of protein expression associated with specific AMPKα isoform suppression in AD model mice. Further, AD-associated hyper-phosphorylation of eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF2) was blunted with selective AMPKα1 inhibition. Our findings reveal isoform-specific roles of AMPKα in AD pathophysiology, thus providing insights into potential therapeutic strategy for AD and related dementia syndromes.
Helena R. Zimmermann, Wenzhong Yang, Nicole P. Kasica, Xueyan Zhou, Xin Wang, Brenna C. Beckelman, Jingyun Lee, Cristina M. Furdui, C. Dirk Keene, Tao Ma
Lipid-rich myelin forms electrically insulating, axon-wrapping multilayers that are essential for neural function, and mature myelin is traditionally considered metabolically inert. Surprisingly, we discovered that mature myelin lipids undergo rapid turnover, and quaking (Qki) is a major regulator of myelin lipid homeostasis. Oligodendrocyte-specific Qki depletion, without affecting oligodendrocyte survival, resulted in rapid demyelination, within 1 week, and gradually neurological deficits in adult mice. Myelin lipids, especially the monounsaturated fatty acids and very-long-chain fatty acids, were dramatically reduced by Qki depletion, whereas the major myelin proteins remained intact, and the demyelinating phenotypes of Qki-depleted mice were alleviated by a high-fat diet. Mechanistically, Qki serves as a coactivator of the PPARβ-RXRα complex, which controls the transcription of lipid-metabolism genes, particularly those involved in fatty acid desaturation and elongation. Treatment of Qki-depleted mice with PPARβ/RXR agonists significantly alleviated neurological disability and extended survival durations. Furthermore, a subset of lesions from patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis were characterized by preferential reductions in myelin lipid contents, activities of various lipid metabolism pathways, and expression level of QKI-5 in human oligodendrocytes. Together, our results demonstrate that continuous lipid synthesis is indispensable for mature myelin maintenance and highlight an underappreciated role of lipid metabolism in demyelinating diseases.
Xin Zhou, Chenxi He, Jiangong Ren, Congxin Dai, Sharon R. Stevens, Qianghu Wang, Daniel Zamler, Takashi Shingu, Liang Yuan, Chythra R. Chandregowda, Yunfei Wang, Visweswaran Ravikumar, Arvind U.K. Rao, Feng Zhou, Hongwu Zheng, Matthew N. Rasband, Yiwen Chen, Fei Lan, Amy B. Heimberger, Benjamin M. Segal, Jian Hu